Saturday, March 31, 2012

March Roundup

Here's the roundup of posts from March.  Based on hits, this month's popular items were the Smashbox Shades of Fame lip gloss set, Korres' Pomegranate mattifying treatment, and OPI's Holland collection.  Isn't it great that we now have so many ways to get reviews of products before buying?

NYX Orchid Stick Blush vs. Tarte Tipsy Natural Cheek Stain

Eye products:
L'Oreal Infallible 24HR Eyeshadows in Perpetual Purple, Iced Latte, Sultry Smoke
Benefit Brows a-go-go
Urban Decay 24/7 Double Ended Pencil Set in Zero/Corrupt and Uzi/Empire
Fusion Beauty Lip+Lash XL
L'Oreal Infallible 24HR Eyeshadows in Bronzed Taupe, Endless Pearl, Continuous Cocoa

Facial masks/treatments/cleansers:
Borghese Fango Brillante Brightening Mud Mask
Korres Pomegranate Mattifying Treatment
Eminence Pear and Poppy Seed Microderm Polisher
Ultraceutical Balance Set for Normal to Oily Skin
Korres Milk Protein Foaming Cream Cleanser
Yes to Blueberries Cleansing Facial Towelettes
Josie Maran Cleanse and Protect
Eminence Hungarian Herbal Mud Treatment

Lip products:
N.Y.C. Extreme Glider Lip Gloss
Smashbox Shades of Fame Reflection High Shine Lip Gloss Set
Fusion Beauty Lip+Lash XL
Revlon's Colorburst Lip Butter in Pink Truffle

Azalea City
Birchbox:  Spring Training
My First Eco-Emi Box!

Bubble & Bee Organic Lotion Stick in Chai Guy
Body America Organics with Attitude! New York Cheesecake with an Edge
Josie Maran Cleanse and Protect

Nail Polishes:
China Glaze Capital Colours in Electrify, Mahogany Magic, Luxe and Lush, Riveting
China Glaze Capital Colours Mini Set

Revlon's Whimsical
I Don't Give a Rotterdam and Are You Glistenin'?
Nerdlacquer's Don't Panic
China Glaze's Riveting
China Glaze's Riveting and Electrify
China Glaze's Mahogany Magic with Luxe and Lush

Korres Pomegranate Mattifying Face Primer
Korres Quercetin and Oak Antiaging Eye Primer

Eminence Hungarian Herbal Mud Treatment

Hungarian Herbal Mud Treatment by Eminence is a stimulating, detoxifying masque for oily, seborrheic, or acne-prone skin types.  The stimulating properties come from ingredients like paprika and cinnamon, which do cause a warming or burning sensation on your skin for the first few minutes, and are supposed to increase circulation.  It's not unusual for my face to be flushed after using this masque, but I do not find the sensation unpleasant.  This masque is designed to reduce impurities and regulate oil production in skin.

Hungarian Herbal Mud Treatment

I love how you can actually see the dirt granules in this and it's slightly gritty consistency.  One of Eminence's strengths is the quality of their natural and organic ingredients.  I personally like seeing the fruits, vegetables, or in this case, mud in the jar.

Instructions say to warm the masque to body temperature, apply a thin layer, and then wrap your skin to keep it warm.   Eminence products are often used in spa's, so I can see this happening in that environment.  I just apply it straight from the jar and putter around for 20-30 minutes before rinsing, and my skin is glowing and soft.  This is the best mud treatment I've used and I will be repurchasing.  Hungarian Herbal Mud Treatment retails for $46 and can be purchased at online retailers like Dermstore and SkinCareRx

Ingredients:  Hungarian Herbal Mud, Cinnamon, Sage, Willow Ivy, Paprika, Elder, Horsetail, Lemongrass, Linden Tea, Red Rose Petal, Walnut Leaf, Salicylic Acid, Extract Of Achillea, Xanthan Gum, Soy, Glyceride.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Josie Maran Cleanse and Protect

I've enjoyed the few Josie Maran products I've tried and like that they contain argan oil, so when I saw she had added a cleansing oil and moisturizer with 40+ SPF in the product line, I was excited to try them out.  Even better, I could try deluxe sample sizes in the Cleanse & Protect kit without having to invest in the full size products before knowing if they would work for me.

I'm a fan of cleansing oils, or I should say I'm a fan of DHC's Deep Cleansing Oil, as that's the only one I've used for about 5 years now.  It's my holy grail cleansing oil, hands down.  However, I'm always open to trying new products, because you never know when one will surpass your expectations.  Sadly, Josie Maran's Argan Cleansing Oil wasn't that product for me.  This one is a mixture of five different oils:  sunflower, safflower, argan, grape seed, and olive fruit.  Instructions say to apply over a dry face, then wet face and massage into a rich milk, which is fairly standard for a cleansing oil.  I like to massage the oil around on my face for about 30 seconds prior to wetting.  After rinsing, all traces of makeup and dirt should be gone and your skin should feel clean, non-greasy, and ready for whatever steps your skincare routine calls for.  

The problem here?  This left a greasy residue that rinsing did not get rid of.  It also did not completely remove my eye makeup, in particular my mascara.  I don't use waterproof mascara so that was not the problem, and an oil based cleanser should deal with waterproof mascara anyhow.

I swatched various eye pencils, mascara foundation, blush, and a cream and powder eyeshadow on my hand to give you an idea of how this worked.  After massaging with the oil but not adding water, the foundation, powder eyeshadow, and blush had started to dissolve.  After adding water and massaging some more, the cream shadow and black eye pencil are still present.  Given that I probably rubbed my hands more vigorously than I would my face (particularly my eye area), you begin to see the problem.  This, combined with the greasy residue, makes it a fail for me.  Maybe dry skinned folks will feel differently.

Makeup left after using Argan Cleansing Oil
On the other hand, I liked the Argan Daily Moisturizer with SPF 40+.  My biggest problem with sunscreen is the heavy texture and sheen that they leave behind.  I have oily skin and don't need added shine - I produce plenty on my own.  While the Argan Daily Moisturizer does leave behind a sheen, it mostly dissipates after a few minutes and does not feel heavy on my skin.  I tend to avoid using a separate sunscreen under my makeup because of the heaviness and sheen, but this one may work for me.  I like the high SPF factor and that it contains argan oil, which is supposed to help balance oily skin.  However, if anyone out there knows of a sunscreen that dries matte, please let me know!

Sheen after applying Argain Daily Moisturizer SPF+40
I bought the Josie Maran Cleanse & Protect set at Sephora for $20.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

NOTD: China Glaze's Mahogany Magic with Luxe and Lush

Mahogany Magic
Mahogany Magic was the surprise purchase for me from the China Glaze Capital Colours collection.  I wasn't intending on getting it but once I saw this milk chocolate creaminess, I was drawn in.  I love the glossy finish and ended up wearing this for 3 days without the  top coat of Luxe and Lush, I liked it so much.  I know, unheard of for me.  Application was great and this was two coats.  After three days, I had some slight tip wear. 

I had always envisioned this being the polish out of the Capital Colours collection that would look best with Luxe and Lush, and I do love the two together.  Luxe and Lush is jagged pieces of mylar that change color with the light.  I used two coats, and because it was a bit rough, topped with one coat each of Gelous and Seche Vite.  This smoothed things out for the most part, however there are a few stray pieces that are still making their presence known.  I've also got a few pieces that extended beyond the nail line and had to be filed down.  Just things to be aware of.

Mahogany Magic with Luxe and Lush

So far, I haven't been disappointed with any of the polishes I've worn from the Capital Colours collection!  I purchased these two at Sally's Beauty Supply for $5.99 each.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

NYX Orchid Stick Blush vs. Tarte Tipsy Natural Cheek Stain

I've heard good things about NYX's blush sticks, and being a lover of Tarte cheek stains (but not necessarily their price), was curious to see how they compare.

Orchid by NYX is a pinkish coral shade with gold shimmer.  I ordered this sight unseen online and was quite happy with the shade once I got it.  It applies as a sheer wash of color that can be built up in intensity.  I do not have a problem with this settling into my pores and find it easy to apply.  On the down side, just like Tarte's cheek tints, it does have a slight stickiness after application.  I usually apply either a powder blush or a setting powder on top, which helps.  
NYX Orchid
I had gotten a travel size of Tarte's Tipsy not long before, and as soon as I saw Orchid I was wondering if these two were dupes.  Tipsy is also a pinkish coral, but at least in the tube appears to have less shimmer.  Orchid appears lighter in the tube, but surprisingly has as much intensity upon application as Tipsy.  Orchid is more pink than Tipsy and also has more shimmer.  Tipsy is actually slightly more sticky after application than Orchid.  Tipsy has a pleasant apricot scent whereas Orchid is scentless.  If this is a bit confusing, I've simplified it here:

Orchid:  pinker with more shimmer, less sticky, no scent

Tipsy:  coral with less shimmer, more sticky, apricot scent
Top Orchid, bottom Tipsy (taken in shade)
Top Orchid, bottom Tipsy (taken in sun)

The ingredient list is probably where these two will differ the most.  Tarte's cheek stains are water based and marketed as "natural", whereas the first ingredient in Orchid is mineral oil.  Tarte's cheek stains are also supposed to be paraben free, yet I see propylparaben in the ingredient list, so I'm a bit confused about that.  But, you'll also notice that Orchid has pretty much every paraben out there in it, so Tarte will definitely win as far as quality ingredients are concerned, IMO.

The other major difference is also going to be price, as a full size Tarte cheek stain is $30 for 1 oz., whereas NYX's stick blushes are $6 for .013 oz.  This is a bit deceptive though since Tarte cheek stains are approximately 3 times larger.  Tarte's mini cheek stains are even larger at .017 than the regular sized NYX stick blushes, just for comparison.  But, if you like variety and don't want to pay $30 a blush to get it, then NYX could give you five different blush shades for the price of one Tarte cheek tint.

So, these are not complete dupes in color like I was thinking, but both are great shades for spring.  I'm not sure how my skin will react to the mineral oil, but considering I don't wear the same blush every day, I don't foresee occasional use being a problem. 

Tipsy:  Propylene Glycol, Aqua, Nonyl Nonoxynol-150, Glycerin, Sodium Stearate, Laureth-23, Parfum/Fragrance, PVP, Propylparaben. (+/-): Mica, Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77489, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499),Carmine (CI 75470) , Blue 1 (CI 42090), Red 33 (CI 17200), Red 40 (CI 16035), Yellow 5 (CI 19140).

Orchid:  White Mineral Oil, 2-Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Polybutene, Squalane, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Vitamin E, Beeswax, Ozokerite, Candelilla Wax, Carnauba Wax, Paraffin Wax/ Microcrystalline Wax, Phenoxyethanol/ Methylparaben/ N-Butylparaben/ Ethylparaben/ Propylparaben/ Isobutylparaben, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate. MAY CONTAIN: D&C Red No.6 Sodium Salt (CI 15850), D&C Red No.28 Al. Lake (CI 45410), FD&C Yellow No.5 Aluminum Lake (CI 19140:1), D&C Red No.7 Calcium Lake (CI 15850:1), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Black Iron Oxide (CI 77499), Red Iron Oxide (CI 77491), Yellow Iron Oxide (CI 77492), Mica (CI 77019)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Body America Organics with Attitude!

Packaging does make a difference.  Rarely do I buy based soley on looks, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't influence me.  However, what really drew me in was the 75% off sign at RiteAid.  I have no idea why RiteAid has frequent 75% off sales, but they do.  Maybe it's because they are phasing out brands or making room for new packaging or seasonal items.  So, given a 75% off sale, pretty packaging, and an "organics with attitude" tag, I bought this vanilla strawberry scented body butter.

I need another body butter like I need.....you can fill in the blanks.  Having said that, I'm seriously considering stalking the other RiteAids in town to stock up on this heavily discounted and not that easy to find brand.  I'd never heard of it, and I'm not entirely convinced Body America hasn't gone out of business or something.  Their web site hasn't been updated in eons, although the parent company does still list them as a brand.

These come in the tub shown and well as a hygienic pump applicator.  I bought the pump version for my mother in the Southern Belle scent, which is peach mango.  She really liked it, as did I.  The scents are realistic without being heavy or cloying.  So, if you see these at 75% off, I'd say give 'em a whirl.  Regular retail at RiteAid is $9.99, so I payed about $2.49. 

My First Eco-Emi Box!

Eco-Emi is a monthly subscription service that is designed to help people discover products that are organic, all natural, green, and animal friendly.  For $15 per month, you receive a selection of products from makeup, skin care, toiletries, food or household items.  There is probably more variety than what I've listed, but since this is my first box, I'm going by what I received.

The items were nicely wrapped in tissue paper and included charming paper flowers scattered amongst the items.  Little touches like that go a long way and are much appreciated by me.  An enclosed card describes the included items, but I like to open the packages without knowing what is inside, so I wait to after opening to read the card.  The surprise element is part of why I love subscription services like these.

Upon opening the post office cardboard box that enclosed the items, I immediately smelled something that I assumed was soap, but turned out the be incense.  I like burning incense although I don't do it often, so that was a nice surprise.   

I received shampoo and conditioner, two vegan mineral eye shadows and one vegan gel eyeliner, a raw vegan bar , a toothbrush, Pomegranate gum, a lip tint, vegan liquid soap, incense, and a sachet bag.  Overall, a really nice and diverse mix of items!  I'll describe the items I've used thus far in more detail. 

Badger lip tint shimmer is an all natural, certified organic, cocoa butter lip balm with added minerals for color.   There are four different tints but I don't know which one I have as it's not labeled.  Really pretty color though, quite intense in the tube.  On the lips it provides a sheer wash of color that feels quite good.  

Rose Gold
Warm Honey

The All Natural Face eyeshadows in Rose Gold and Warm Honey contain no bismuth, no talc, no carmine, no silk powder, no d & c lake colors, no parabens, and are vegan.  Don't let the small containers these came in fool you - there is a lot of eyeshadow here.  I depotted them into larger containers since the original ones aren't practical for use.  I must say, I like these shadows!  There was practically zero fallout when I used them - the powder clung to the makeup brush and then to your skin once applied.  Check out the multi colored shimmer in these by clicking on the photos, which fortunately did not translate to a frosty or overly shimmery finish.  These are both quite wearable colors for me.  I believe I received 5 gram jars, which retail for $3.50.  Plus, Eco-Emi customers get an additional 15% off through April 30th!

The smudgeproof Gel eyeliner is called "That Black" and comes with a brush.  This is a true black liner that has a slightly glossy finish.  Unfortunately, I don't normally wear black liner, but it does seem really nice.  The brush is rather stiff and not one I will be using.  Overall though, I'll be checking out The All Natural Face, as their prices are very reasonable and the range of colors they offer is phenomenal - they've got 89 different eyeshadow colors! 

Revitalize Shampoo & Conditioner by Greenbody Greenplanet are a Certified Organic blend of 14 plant-based ingredients and extracts that are toxin, silicone, alcohol, and cruelty free.  Not to mention vegan and biodegradable.  The Revitalizing shampoo and conditioner are for dry and damaged hair and replenish moisture, repair strength and elasticity, and protect color with Australian Plum and Rosehip extracts.  The shampoo is low lathering, which you would expect with a sulfate free shampoo.  What I did not expect was how easy it was to comb though my hair after using the conditioner.  I need to use these more before making a final verdict, but I've got to say so far so good.  These babies are not cheap at $24 each for 8 oz, but that's about par for high end shampoos and conditioners these days.  If they deliver, well....

Overall, I'm really pleased with my first Eco-Emi and am looking forward to future months!  Has anyone subscribed to Eco-Emi or a similar service?  What do you think?

Monday, March 26, 2012

L'Oreal Infallible 24HR Eye Shadows in Bronzed Taupe, Endless Pearl, Continuous Cocoa

Bronzed Taupe, Endless Pearl, Continuous Cocoa
Bronzed Taupe, Endless Pearl, and Continuous Cocoa are the last of the L'Oreal Infallible 24HR eye shadows that I picked up.  I'm still fascinated with the unique texture of these shadows, but also more aware of their shortcomings as well.  Some of the shades are too shimmery - not the best look for aging eyes.  On the other hand, some of the mattes apply rather patchy.  I've found that using a very light touch with the shimmery shades makes them wearable for me.  For the shades that apply patchy, I use them as an eyeshadow base or as an eye liner. 

Bronzed Taupe is a lovely warm taupe with lots of shimmer.  It applies well, although it can skip in places if applied lightly.  I wasn't even aware of it until I took some photos of a finished look, but there it was.  Endless Pearl is a cream matte that provides a nice base for other colors and brightens eyes.  Continuous Cocoa is a dark brown matte, and as you can see from the swatches, can be a bit patchy.  I use it mainly to line upper and lower lashes and it works well for that.  The first swatch photo is in shade, the second in full sun.
Bronzed Taupe
Endless Pearl
Continuous Cocoa
All swatches are over bare skin, but I do use an eye primer for my eyes.  I've got oily skin so for me a primer is a must for all shadows.  These do last for a good 8 hours of wear, although there is some fading.  They apply best for me with my finger, which can make reaching inner eye corners a bit difficult.  For lining, my regular liner brush or a foam applicator works well.  Provided these do not dry out, these should last forever, as the high pigmentation means a little goes a long way.

For this look, I used Endless Pearl all over, Bronzed Taupe in the crease and below, and Continuous Cocoa to line upper and lower lashes.  For highlighting inner corners of my eye, I used my UD 24/7 shadow pencil in Sin.  You can see the skipping I mentioned on the left eye.

To see reviews and swatches of Midnight Blue, Amber Rush, and Golden Sage, click here.  Perpetual Purple, Iced Latte, and Sultry Smoke review and swatches are here

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Yes to Blueberries Cleansing Facial Towelettes

Cleansing towelettes can be a convenient little beauty tool to have handy.  Especially when they contain 99% natural ingredients and clean plus moisturize in one step.  Let's add economical to the mix and well, say Yes to Blueberries cleansing facial towelettes!

The Yes to...company has four different product lines:  the nourishing Yes to Carrots for normal to dry skin and hair, the soothing Yes to Cucumbers for sensitive skin and color-treated hair, the clear skin Yes to Tomatoes for combination and acne-prone skin, and the age refresh Yes to Blueberries for age-damaged or mature skin.  I qualify for three out of four, but chose Yes to Blueberries for my first foray into this brand.

These 'brightening facial towelettes' are formulated with blueberries and coconuts to gently cleanse, remove makeup, and moisturize skin in one step. They also contain lemon peel and apple to help brighten skin.  The fragrance, while not unpleasant, is a little odd.  I can't quite place it, but it's "bright".  If you are expecting a blueberry scent, dispel that thought now.

These did a good job of removing dirt and oil from my skin, neck, and chest.  My first test was on makeup free skin that had not been washed since the previous night and was therefore quite oily.  I don't know if it was picking up residual makeup from my neck but it did not come back completely white after use, so it was getting something.  After use, my skin felt clean but not tight.  I also did not feel a heavy residue, which is important as you don't rinse after using these.

I can see using these if I'm dead tired and too lazy to properly wash up at night, but more likely I'll use these on the weekends when I don't tend to wear makeup.  My skin is so oily that about mid-afternoon this will be a great way to deslick and freshen up.  They will also be great during the summer, when the heat and humidity gets oppressive around here.

At $7.99 for 30 towelettes, I'm liking these!  The design with the click top dispenser looks like it will keep the towelettes moist, but if that's not the case I'll update this review.  Finally, I'll close with the blurb on the back of the pack, as I really like the positivity it expresses!

The Power of yes:  Yes to health.  Yes to organic fruits and veggies.  Yes to caring as much about what you put on your body as what you put in it.  Yes to the benefits of anti-oxidants.  Yes to being low maintenance and highly fabulous.  Yes to happiness.  Yes to you!